Jane and Thor didn’t see heads or tails of Loki for three days. They were fairly sure he slept most of the first day. The second day, Loki’s car was gone from the driveway, along with several Tupperware containers of food from the fridge. Tony appeared unaffected, though he did get strangely quiet whenever Jane brought up the dinner party. He would say he had a good time and poke fun at her for trying to set him up with her boyfriend’s brother, but wouldn’t say anything more about what happened or why he disappeared so suddenly. It wasn’t until Jane pestered Thor on the evening of the second day that she found out what had happened. She didn’t talk to Thor for the rest of the evening, even refusing to acknowledge him when he came to bed. Thor had no idea what he did wrong, of course, but she felt good punishing him.
On the morning of the third day, Jane had had enough. She sent Loki a text message. ‘Sorry your brother is a big dumb. Quit using up all the tissues and lotion in your apartment. It’s Tony’s day off. Here’s his number. Go have fun.’
Loki raised an eyebrow as his phone beeped. He pulled himself out of bed and went to retrieve it from his computer desk in the living room. He was glad he wasn’t drinking anything when he read the text message, because he would have spit it out. He grinned widely. He had no idea how Thor had managed to land a girl like Jane. Seriously. What intelligent woman would admit that her boyfriend is an idiot to his brother, and then go right on dating him?
Loki shook his head. He added Tony’s number to his phone, and then stared at the screen, trying to decide what to text. Unable to think of anything, he put it down and got a beer out of the fridge. After considering it for another couple minutes, he typed something, sending it before he could regret it. ‘So are you going to finish what you started or not, Stark?’
It was less than a minute later when his phone buzzed. ‘who is this and how did u get my number?’
Loki rolled his eyes, but grinned as he typed a response. ‘Relax, Tony. It’s Loki. Jane gave me your number.’
‘how do I know youre not lying?’
‘I suppose you don’t. I am the God of Lies and Mischief, after all.’
On the other side of town, Tony smirked at his phone. He was still in bed, as was usual on his day off. He had been awake for hours, but hadn’t gotten the inspiration to actually move before his phone had started buzzing. When he wasn’t in the lab, he really didn’t know what to do with himself. Perhaps Loki could provide a distraction, at least for today. ‘well, my gorgeous god of mischief, would u do me the great honor of having brunch with a miserable mortal like myself?’
‘Oh, I don’t know. It’s a long way down from Asgard for some petty Midgardian.’
‘i think u missed the r in pretty there.’
Loki snorted. Still as conceited as ever, it appeared. ‘Haha. Very funny. In all seriousness though, are you asking me out on a date, Tony?’
‘if it quacks like a duck. why does it matter?’
‘Just didn’t peg you as the type to properly court someone before you fuck them.’
Tony smirked. It wasn’t really funny beyond the bluntness of it, but for some reason that alone was extremely amusing. ‘i have no idea what youre talking about. u shouldn’t believe everything you read in gossip rags, odinson. i am romantic as fuck.’
Tony stared at the phone for a moment. He had been joking. He really wasn’t the romantic type, as Pepper would be quick to tell anyone who would listen. But he also wasn’t one to back down from a challenge... ‘maybe i will. my place. two hours. get the address from jane, i dont know it. come prepared to be fully and properly romanced.’
‘I’m looking forward to it.’ Loki was highly skeptical of anything relation to Tony Stark and actual romance. But if Tony wanted to play that game, by god he would play it.
Tony stared at the message on his phone. What the hell did he just get himself into? He got drunk, had sex, and then Pepper took out the trash in the morning. That was how his sex life worked. There was no romance. He wasn’t even sure he know how to romance someone. He needed help. He considered asking Pepper, but immediately dismissed the thought because that would create unnecessary drama. So he went to his next closest friend. He dialed the number, put it on speaker, and started digging through the fridge.
It rang several times before the colonel picked up. “Stark, why are you calling me before ten am on a Saturday?”
Tony grinned. “Good morning, Rhodey. How’s it going back on the Pacific coast?”
“I wouldn’t know, I’m still in bed.” There was the squeak of springs as Rhodey sat up.
“So I have a question.” Tony sniffed a carton of milk before grimacing and tossing it in the trash.
“What question could possibly be so important that you had to wake me up to ask it?”
Tony closed his fridge, having found no edible food. He was going to have to go shopping then. "What do people normally do on dates?”
Rhodey laughed heartily. “What, are you writing a romance novel or something?”
“I’m being serious, Rhodes.” Tony leaned against the counter and began writing out a shopping list on his tablet.
“Don’t tell me the great Tony Stark is actually going on a date?
Tony shrugged. “Guilty as charged.”
“I’ll contact the press.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “You’re so funny. I’m being serious here, dude. If you won’t help me, I’ll contact Pepper.”
“Wait, it’s not Pep?”
Tony snorted. He shut down the shopping list and pulled up a recipe app and started flipping. “Rhodey, think with your brain for a second. If Pepper and I were going on a date, she would have it planned out before she even mentioned anything. And then if she mentioned it, it would be telling me what to wear.”
“Well sorry I’m still half asleep, Child Genius.” Rhodey laughed. “So let me clear this up. You are calling me to ask for advice for a date that is not with your girlfriend-”
“Pepper is not my ‘girlfriend’.” Tony snapped. “She’s my former PA and current Co-CEO. That’s it.”
“Whatever.” Tony could practically hear Rhodey rolling his eyes. “So if not Pepper, who’s the lucky lady?”
Tony hesitated. He considered correcting him, but couldn’t figure out how to both do that and sound sarcastic. “None of your business, that’s who.”
“Did I detect a note of hesitation there, Stark?”
“Are you going to help me, or what, Rhodey?” He was regretting not calling Pepper every passing second. No, scratch that. Pepper would say all this, and worse. He was regretting not calling Jane every passing second. At least she would have some fathom of an idea what Loki’s likes and dislikes were.
“Dude, I can’t help you if you don’t tell me who it is. What are their likes and dislikes?’
“I really don’t know." Tony sighed. He had stayed up until dawn talking to Loki about his past, but when he really thought about it, all he really knew about the guy was that he liked vanilla vodka. He added that to the shopping list.
Rhodey scoffed. “Okay, have you already asked her or what? I at least need to know what the framework is.”
“They’re coming over to my place in a few hours for brunch.”
Tony could hear Rhodey run a hand over his face. “Okay, if it’s the first date, you’ve already made a terrible mistake. First dates should be dinner at a fancy restaurant or something. Brunch at home is really fucking domestic, Stark.”
Tony shrugged. “Well, I guess you could technically say it’s not a first date?”
“Hook-ups in bars don’t count as dates.”
Tony sighed. “You know what, screw this. I’m hanging up now.”
“Don’t you dare, Stark. I’m interested now. If you hang up, I will fly out to New Mexico and walk in on your date just to find out who this mystery woman is.”
Tony rolled his eyes. Screw this secretive crap. He needed help. “Okay, you know that woman I’m assigned to be helping, Jane Foster?”
“I thought you told me she was taken?”
“She is.” Tony rolled his eyes. “It’s not with her, you moron.”
Rhodey sighed through his nose. “Okay. What about her?”
“The person in question is her boyfriend’s brother. We met at a dinner party, and kind of stayed up until dawn drinking and talking.” Tony actually cringed. Okay wow, that sounded really, really mushy and romantic. Rhodey didn’t speak for a time. Tony looked questioningly at the phone. “You still there, Rhodes?”
“Did you say brother, Stark?”
Tony rolled his eyes. Of course that was what he picked up on, and not that he met the guy in the most awkward way on the planet. “Yeah, I did. You got a problem with it, Rhodes?”
“Uh, no!” Rhodey punctuated his statement with awkward laughter. “Just didn’t know you swung that way, Stark.”
“I don’t like narrowing my playing field.”
Rhodey laughed at that. “Okay then. You do realize that I’m a bad person to call for advice on how to impress a guy, right?”
Tony rolled his eyes. “I’m not trying to impress him.”
“Tony, trying to impress someone is kinda what the entire concept of a date is about.”
“I mean, I am. But n-no, I’m not. I mean. It’s...It’s a joke date.” Tony stammered. God, he needed a drink. What was he even saying anymore? And why the hell was he stammering?
Rhodey snorted. “Never thought I’d see the day when you’re stuttering over someone, Stark.”
“Shut up before I have to punch you.”
Rhodey laughed. “Um. Well if it’s a joke, I would suggest going all-out. Cutesie shit, you know. Hearts and flowers and romantic comedies and the whole nine yards. If he has anything in common with you at all, he should get a kick out of that.”
Tony nodded. He could tell that Rhodey felt about as awkward about the whole situation as he did. “Actually, that’s really helpful.”
“Well, I’m glad I could help.”
Tony cleared his throat. “I’m just. Going to hang up now. Before this conversation gets more awkward.”
“You do that.”
“Have a nice day.”
"I want to be the best man at the wedding." Rhodey broke down laughing.
Tony hung up the phone, rolling his eyes. He looked at his shopping list. So far, he had Vanilla Vodka and bread. That sounded like a productive breakfast. He sighed through his nose. Cutesie, huh? He could do cutesie. He grinned, an idea striking him. He pulled out his phone, typing out a quick message to Loki. 'Hey, I should've asked earlier, are you allergic to anything?'
'Latex. But I seriously doubt that that's relevant, as I don't think they even sell latex condoms anymore.'
Tony snorted. Okay, as long as he wasn't allergic to anything... He flipped back to the breakfast recipes. Yes. Yes, that would work well. He copied and pasted the list of ingredients, added a few side things of his own, and grinned. Yes, that would work very well.
Loki pulled up to the house an hour and a half later. He raised his eyebrows, double-checking the address that Jane had given him. Yeah, this was the right place. It was /huge/. He shook his head, getting out. Stark only needed the place for a few months. Did a single man really need a house fit for a family of nine? Oh wait. What was he even thinking. This was Tony Stark they were talking about here.
He walked up to the door, and rang the doorbell. Several seconds later, Tony’s voice came from a speaker above him. “It’s open. In the kitchen. It’s down the hall and two your left.”
Loki rolled his eyes, but walked in. He followed the sound of the guitars and drums of classic rock back to the kitchen. Why he found it, he stood in the doorway for a moment, just watching the sight in front of him. Tony was dressed in nothing but a tank top and a loose pair of jeans, and was half flying around the kitchen, humming along with the song. Loki laughed lowly. “Honest question here, where exactly does a billionaire learn to cook?”
Tony didn’t turn. “Taught myself. Chefs are boring. I have too weird of a schedule. Coffee? I have a pot brewed.” He pointed with his spatula behind him to the coffee maker on the island.
Loki grimaced. “You don’t happen to have tea?”
“I have chamomile in the cabinet there.”
Loki grinned, walking over to it. “You didn’t strike me as a tea man.”
“Neither did you, but look at us now. Watch those for a second, will you? I have a kettle hiding around here somewhere.” He started rummaging around in a cabinet below him.
Loki walked over to the stove, and nearly broke down laughing again. “Are those heart-shaped pancakes?”
“With strawberries.” Tony stood up, kettle in hand, and wiggled his eyebrows. He went to the sink and filled the kettle.
Loki laughed. “Really romantic, Stark. Really.”
“I try.” Tony grinned. He set the kettle on one of the open burners, and picked up his spatula to begin flipping them. “I was going to be playing smooth jazz too, but you got here early.”
Loki put a hand to his face. “That’s priceless.” Tony grinned. He really did like Loki’s laugh quite a bit. He realized that they had been silent a moment too long, just staring at each other, and looked back down to his pancakes. “Uh. There’s some mugs on the island there. Pancakes will be up in just a sec.”
Loki smiled. “Thanks.” He sat down on one of the stools, setting the box of chamomile that he was still holding in front of him. The song changed, and Loki listened, twiddling his thumbs. Well this was awkward. “Well since we’ve forsaken the jazz, can I ask what this is?”
Tony looked over his shoulder. “You seriously don’t know?”
“I’m not much a rock person.” Loki shrugged.
“God of Mischief not into the most mischievous genre of music in the last century? It’s an outrage. A scandal.” Tony began flipping the finished pancakes onto a plate.
Loki laughed. “And you have clearly seen Harry Potter one too many times.”
Tony grinned, turning around with two plates stacked high with pancakes. “Rock of Ages by Def Leppard. You can officially add that to your list of nicknames.”
“Oh, there’s a list?” Loki grinned widely.
“Yes. It’s very short. Currently only has ‘Rock of Ages’ and variations on ‘God of Mischief and Lies’.” He put the plate down in front of Loki. “Syrup? Powdered sugar?”
Loki shrugged. “Whatever you’re getting out for yourself is fine.”
Tony turned and went to the cabinet again, pulling out a new bottle of maple syrup. The kettle whistled at them, and Tony handed the bottle off to Loki. “I’ll get that. Guests first.”
“You have excellent manners for a man with such a bad reputation.” Loki grabbed a mug now, placing a tea bag in the bottom and reaching to set it on the opposite side of the counter, closer to Tony. “Also, these pancakes look fantastic. Seriously, you shouldn’t be allowed to be this good at cooking.”
Tony laughed, pouring boiling water over the tea bag. “I’ll choose to ignore the thinly veiled insults, and thank you for both compliments. Like I said, i try.” Tony set the kettle back on the stove, and took a fresh mug to go pour himself some coffee.
Loki grinned. “A wise choice.” He poured syrup on his pancakes, and then took the laid-out silverware to cut it and took a bite. He half groaned at the flavor. “Oh Christ, these are really good.”
Tony smirked. He wouldn’t mind hearing that sound again. “Now that’s a reaction I like to hear.” Pepper doesn’t really appreciate my strawberry pancakes recipe. The swelling and the closing of her throat kind of get in the way.” He sat down on the stool next to Loki’s.
Loki laughed. “So that’s what the allergy question was about. A good cook, and considerate. I like it.”
He went to his own pancakes, drowning them in syrup and cutting a bite out of several layers.
“Okay, these are good. I’m even impressed with myself.”
“That’s not saying much.” Loki rolled his eyes.
“Shut your dirty mouth.”
“Make me.” Loki took another bite, staring at Tony defiantly as he chewed.
Tony stared back, taking another sip of his coffee. He didn’t know how to reply to that. Well he did, but they were eating, and pancakes sucked cold. So he didn’t reply. He looked down, and took another bite of his pancakes. “So if you’re not into rock, what are you into?”
Loki shrugged. “Uh, I actually enjoy classical quite a bit.”
Tony looked at him curiously. “Really? Are you a musician at all or…?”
“Not at all. I wish.” Loki laughed. “I just. I don’t know. I’ve been surrounded by language all day for the last several years. It’s nice to get away and just listen to music without words.”
Tony shrugged. “I guess I can understand. I mean, you have to translate any lyrics in English, right? That must be a strain.”
“Tony, I’ve been speaking English so long there’s really no translating involved anymore.” He grinned. “Plus, I could always listen to Swedish music if I really felt like it.”
“But Swedish music sucks.” Tony shook his head at his own outburst. “I mean, come on. You’ve got ABBA and all their sickening pop-y copycats, and then you’ve got metal.”
Loki laughed. “Oh Lord, please don’t mention ABBA. If I could go the rest of my life never having to listen to them again, I would die a happy man.”
“Let me guess. Thor is a fan?”
“Obsessively. He had posters. It was disturbing.” Loki dramatically shuddered, but grinned.
“I’m sorry.” Tony put a hand on his arm seriously. “Nobody should have had to grow up listening to shit like that.”
Loki’s grin melted. He put his hand on top of Tony’s. “Thank you for your sympathy. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get over the trauma, but I’ll try.”
“I’ll pay for therapy if you need it.” Tony broke down laughing by the end of his sentence, and Loki quickly followed him.
“By the way.” Loki remembered his tea, and reached for it to remove his tea bag as he continued to shake with laughter. “I would just like to state for the record. That this is the most domestic date I’ve ever been on.”
Tony swallowed after drowning the remainder of his laughter in pancakes and coffee. “Domestic?”
“Tony, we’re eating heart-shaped fruit pancakes in your kitchen while listening to classic rock and laughing about ABBA. You’re in sweats. Yes, this is pretty fucking domestic.”
Tony’s face fell an inch. “Is that a bad thing, or?…”
Loki took a sip of his tea, examining Tony curiously. “Surprisingly? No. It’s…nice.”
Tony stared at Loki for a long moment. He slowly leaned forward, and lightly kissed Loki. Loki’s eyes quickly shut, setting his tea securely down on the counter. His hand went to Tony’s neck. Tony wasn’t even entirely sure why he did it. It just felt right. He licked a bit of sticky syrup off of Loki’s lip, earning him a slight shudder. He pulled back then, grinning widely.
Loki breathed deeply through his nose, trying to get his rapid heartbeat back under control. Why was his heart beating so fast? That didn’t even make any sense. He pointed his fork accusingly at Tony. “I take back everything I said about you being considerate. You, Sir, are a tease.”
“Mm, I’d like to think I’m both.” Tony laughed lightly. He picked up his fork. “Eat your pancakes, Loki. We have all day.”
Loki pressed his lips in a tight line. That was true. They did have all day. He took a sip of his tea to calm his nerved. “Fine. But in exchange for the teasing, you owe me a story.”
Tony grinned. “Oh I do, now?”
Loki grinned back. “What, do you not remember our drunken exchange?”
“No, I definitely do.” Tony shrugged. He ate some more of his pancakes.
“You know my deepest, darkest secrets. There’s no turning back now, Stark.” Loki grinned.
Tony raised an eyebrow. No turning back from what? But he didn’t voice his wonderings. “Okay. What do you want to know about?”
Loki leaned forward, and tapped the glowing circle in his chest. He was actually halfway surprised when it was solid. “I think this is an interesting tale.”
Tony visibly tensed up at the mention of it. He swallowed. “Not much to it. It keeps me alive. That’s really all you need to know.”
Loki raised an eyebrow at him. “Tony, do you not trust me?”
Tony swallowed again. “Honestly? I shouldn’t. We practically just met, and this is technically a first date and all…”
“I didn’t ask whether you should.” Loki put a hand on his forearm. “Do you trust me?”
Tony looked at him. He knew that if he said he didn’t, he would be possibly the worst person to ever be on earth in Loki’s eyes. Loki had trusted him with the lowest point in his life. It was the least he could do to give him the same trust. But beyond that, for some reason Tony felt like he could trust Loki. He didn’t know why. Something in those big green eyes said that this man could keep secrets for years. Finally, Tony nodded. “I..I guess.”
Loki smiled warmly. “Good. Now story time. Go. First of all, what is it?”
Tony decided the best way to go about this was to shrug off his thin tank top. Loki’s eyebrows raised, but he wasn’t complaining. Tony did not have a bad body in any sense of the word. He did have issues keeping his eyes on the device at first, but once it caught his attention, he couldn’t look away. He unconsciously reached up, but quickly put his hand down.
“It’s okay, you can touch it.” Tony laughed. “I can’t feel much because of the scar tissue, anyway.” Loki looked at him, and then slowly reached up, his fingers just barely tracing over the lines. “It’s an arc reactor hooked up to an electromagnet. Like I said, it keeps me alive. There’s some shrapnel in there aimed for my heart.”
Loki glanced back up at him. “Shrapnel?”
“I had a run-in with one of my own bombs.” Tony laughed slightly. Loki gave him a look, and he sighed. “You remember a few years ago when I was kidnapped and whatnot?”
“I like how you assume that I just follow your life.” Loki grinned.
Tony laughed. “It was kind of plastered on the front pages. You couldn’t have missed that one if you tried.”
Loki shrugged. “I may vaguely remember. Afghanistan, right? Something about you presenting a bomb, and then you were kidnapped by terrorists?”
“That’s the gist of it.” Tony sighed. “They attacked our caravan on the way back to base. Me, being the cocky idiot I use to be-“
“Shush. I use to be a lot worse.” Tony grinned, and continued. “I got out of the armored car because I thought I could help. Got halfway blown up, and captured.” Loki nodded, and he continued. “They were hired to capture and kill me, but once they figured out who I was, they wanted a higher price on my head. In order to keep me alive, they had another one of their captives hook me up with an electromagnet. Hooked up to a car battery.”
Loki laughed. “And you wouldn’t stand for that, I imagine?”
Tony laughed. “I needed a more permanent solution. They gave me access to materials because they wanted to build a bomb, and they were kind of stupid. Built an arc reactor from my memory of my dad’s sketches, built the Iron Man Suit Mark I, and got the hell out of there.”
Loki laughed. He realized he still had his hand resting awkwardly on the reactor, and pulled it back. “Am I supposed to be impressed or something, Stark?”
Tony raised an eyebrow. “Well I imagine so. The science community was rather impressed with me, considering I had just built the cleanest energy source known to man in a small, transportable size.”
Loki shrugged, going back to his pancakes. “Not impressive.”
Tony leaned on the counter. He knew Loki was goading him on, but he gladly went with it. “Oh yeah, then what is impressive, Mr. Seven Languages?”
Loki leaned on the counter as well, grinning at him. “The world expects that from you. Son of the great Howard Stark? Graduated from MIT at seventeen? If you hadn’t, I would be disappointed.”
“No you wouldn’t I would just be another celebrity that died. Another casualty of war. You would have never even met me.”
“I said I would be disappointed, didn’t I?” They stayed like that for a moment, leaning forward and staring. Loki considered leaning the extra inch or two forward and stealing a kiss. He didn’t. He sat back up, popping the last bites of his pancakes in his mouth. “However, I am impressed by your cooking. I would have never guessed that you had it in you.”
Tony rolled his eyes. He ate the last several bites of his own pancakes, and downed the rest of his coffee in comfortable silence. He stood to collect their plates.
Loki leaned forward on his elbows again, sipping his tea. “So what’s next on the agenda, Mr. Stark? Because surely a master romancer such as yourself planned past the meal.”
“I’ll have you know that I did.” Tony grinned. He put the plates in the sink, and walked over to the liquor cabinet to pull out the bottle of vanilla vodka that he had bought especially for Loki. “I figured we would get drunk and watch terrible romantic comedies in the living room. Sound like a decent plan to you?”
Loki stood, grinning. He was tickled pink that Stark had actually bothered to buy his favorite vodka. “I like the way you think, Stark. Shall we?”
Tony lead the way to the living room, Loki trailing close behind. Loki slipped the bottle out of Tony’s hands, and settled on the large wrap-around couch while Tony set up the movie, opening the bottle and drinking deeply. Tony rolled his eyes, grinning as he walked over to join him. “Hey now. You’re not allowed to start drinking without me.”
Loki kicked off his shoes, tucking his legs underneath him as he scooted over slightly. He gave Tony a look. “You bought my favorite flavor of vodka. You’re going to have to wrestle this out of my hands now, Stark.”
“That can be arranged.” Tony sat down next to him, wrapping an arm around his shoulders. He attempted to just take the bottle, but Loki quickly screwed the cap on and wrapped his body around it.
“You’re going to have to do better than that.” Loki unscrewed it, taking a drink.
Tony raised an eyebrow. The second Loki put the bottle down he crossed the short space between them, pressing a sloppy kiss to Loki’s lips. He tongued some of the vodka into his own mouth and pulled back, licking his lips and grinning. “Or I could just do that.”
Loki was slightly shell shocked by the sudden intrusion. He stared for a moment, before setting the vodka on the table. “Fuck the vodka.” He leaned forward, pressing his lips back to Tony’s before he could make any further snarky comments. Tony kissed back with fervor, tasting the sweet combination of strawberries, maple syrup, chamomile and vanilla that coated the inside of Loki’s mouth. Somehow, they ended up lying on the couch in the same position they had left in night before, Loki hovering over Tony. Loki pulled back, grinning. “You never answered my question, Stark.”
Tony didn’t let up, kissing a line on Loki’s jaw. “And what question was that?”
“Are you going to finish what you started, or not?” Loki stared down at him, green eyes burning with lust.
Tony looked up at him. “Oh yes, I fully intend to do that and so much more.”
Loki grinned and allowed himself to be pulled back down.